By G9ija

The National Coordinator, Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat, Mrs Chizoma Opara, has urged all states to take ownership of Federal Government’s sanitation and hygiene intervention projects towards meeting the country target.

Opara, who said this at a one-day stakeholders roundtable on Improving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Implementation in Nigeria in Abuja, said that the target was to achieve an Open Defecation-Free (ODF) Nigeria by 2025.

The event was organised by the Society for Water and sanitation (NEWSAN).
Opara, who maintained efforts of the Federal Government ought to be complemented, added it was saddening that current effort from states was minimal.

She said that the clean Nigeria Campaign was set up by the Federal Government to make Nigeria Open Defecation-free Nigeria by 2025, through behavioural change.

“Currently, our target is to have at least 200 ODF Local Governments by December 2021, for now, we have just 71 as of today and these were done with efforts of development partners over the years.

“It is sad that there is no single local government area that had led the process from beginning till the end, delivering a local government area is about the grassroots, so that is the commitment that we need.’’

The national coordinator said that it was sadden that 46 million Nigerians still practiced open defecation in parts of the country, saying Kwara was leading with the highest with about 64 per cent of its populace.

She said although the Federal Government had developed a roadmap, with states also following suit, however noted that states ought to make sincere commitment to follow up to ensure project accountability.

Opara stressed the need for all strata of the society to mobilise a new culture of safe sanitation through behavioural change communication and advocacy, saying this would go a long way to create a nationwide transformational culture.

Mr Bioye Ogunjobi, UNICEF WASH Specialist, urged the civil society to hold tiers of government accountable, saying this would go a long way towards scaling up sanitation and hygiene in the country.

According to him, resources are dwindling, hence the need for Nigeria to mobilise funds towards meeting the sanitation and hygiene needs.

He said that funds coming in from development partners were less than 1 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“We are aware that states like Bayelsa, Rivers, and Delta are far richer than some of these developed countries supporting Nigeria, why can’t we see how to mobilise funds for ourselves.

“We cannot continue like this, it must not be `business as usual’, the Federal Government should also release funds for human rights and this can be done with proper monitoring by the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).’’

Mr Benson Attah, National Coordinator of NEWSAN, said Nigeria would need an estimated 122 billion dollars and three times of the current WASH investment to meet the country target.

He said that though the 2020-2025 strategic plan of NEWSAN had a global vision of achieving access to WASH for everyone by 2030, he noted the need for adherence to leaving no one behind.

According to him, the workshop was also an avenue to deliberate on operationalising of the proposed WASH Fund, saying this would go a long way towards changing the narratives.